May 22, 2018

Crafting A Patterned Home - Book by Kristin Nicholas

I have been following Kristin Nicholas on her blog Getting Stitched on The Farm for a while now, and what I love about her is that she seems genuinely motivated out of the pure love of creating, to decorate her home and make things. She doesn't follow trends, she just has a love for pattern and colour that transcends the latest fashions. It's a true love affair, not just a fling!

Image of Kristin's living room via Apartment therapy- How gorgeous!

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So when I found out she had a new book out, Crafting A Patterned Home, published by Roost Books, I didn't hesitate, I didn't even read about it, I just jumped online and bought it!

I am, like Kristin, intoxicated by pattern and colour and love home decorating. Sometimes I walk into a minimalist space and find some peace and a breath of fresh air, but after a while, I grow bored. Pattern and colour excite me. So clearly I feel like I have lots in common with Kristin.

She has covered the walls in her home with hand-painted patterns, and objects such as lampshades and furniture are not safe... there's even a bath! In this book, she shares how she has done it.

Kristin talks about her previous book Crafting A Colorful Home in this video below, but you can get a sneak peek into her colourful life.

So even though I can appreciate a nice calm neutral home, when I saw Kristin's via this Houzz video I sat there absolutely enthralled. I just would love to sit in her loungeroom with a cuppa and cake and absorb all that pattern into my soul.

Kristin also includes some words of encouragement for the novice or the unsure (scared?) on how to get started.

She gives in-depth advice on how she creates her rooms. One of my favourite snippets of advice she gives is don't make your rooms too "matchy-matchy". I've always agreed with that line of thought; less matchy-matchy makes for a more personalised, interesting home. If all of your furniture is the same design, your rooms might end up looking too much like a furniture display store.

There's a lot of advice on colour, how to think about and design a room, and techniques and tools. There are projects for each space of the house, kitchen & dining, living room & library, bathroom and bedroom, and then outdoor spaces: pottery studio and garden shed, and in the orchard and under the pergola. And of course, if you don't have a pottery studio or pergola, you could make projects for your potting shed or outdoor deck for example.

Such as the one in the image below. I really want to do this with the chook pen window!

The book is bursting with colour, and as a creative person myself, I find it very motivating and I'm eager to try some of the projects in the book.

Thank you Kristin for a lovely book! It's going to slide out of my bookshelf and appear on my coffee table frequently!

Kristin's new book can be found here: Crafting A Patterned Home

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affiliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into or would use.

May 08, 2018

Plaster Wall Hangings

Hello Creatives!

I've just had a mini Etsy shop update, where I have finished uploading some of the plaster art wall hangings I've recently made. I now have birds and hearts in the shop.

They are made from plaster (so suitable for indoors only) made from a silicone mould that I made myself. I cast them in plaster, then clean them up when set, and paint them in acrylic paints.

They are coated with a gloss acrylic sealer. Each one is one-of-a-kind and totally unique.

You can find them in my shop here!

Jules :)

April 23, 2018

An Anna Maria Horner Cross Stitch

I am super guilty of having many UFO's in my studio (unfinished objects), so I am pretty proud of myself that I just finished framing this cross stitch piece yesterday! And I didn't even start it that long ago!

The pattern comes from Anna Maria's Needlework Notebook. It's one of the more in-depth and detailed designs in the book, and I think it was the reason I bought the book. There are many other projects I would like to complete in this gorgeous book, which I find is rare for me to want to do any more than about 3 projects in one craft book. I attribute this to Anna's designs. She'd have to be my favourite fabric designer. I just love the colours she uses.

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In her book she mentions her daughter thought this pattern looked like candy and a computer game all at once. I think Anna's daughter was spot on!

I completed the bulk of this cross stitch whilst away on a holiday. I wanted a crafty project to work on that wasn't one of my own designs. I just wanted to switch off and create something without having to think about colour, composition and design. The number of hours poured into this work were many. My husband mentioned all I was doing every time he looked at me was stitching. I asked him to guess how much time I had spent on it. He estimated 100 hours!

The work was so worth it and was so fulfilling. I now have a cross stitch on my wall that I spent so much time on; and perhaps will be hanging in one of my girls' houses when I'm long gone. For someone who bores easily, for some reason the motivation stayed high through this whole project. I thoroughly enjoyed making it. I really love the texture and look that the little cross stitches have.

Waiting for my car to be repaired was as good a time as any to make a start...

The only thing I will say regarding the pattern is that it took me a long time to work out which colour went where, as the chart was only coloured and didn't have a symbol key. I think I got some colours mixed up and ended up using a colour from my own stash as I couldn't work it out. But all that said, I got there in the end and it was totally worth figuring out because Anna Maria Horner's designs are just so beautiful. My colours may not be exact, but I don't really think that matters.

Anna recommends and uses Anchor embroidery thread, and so I ordered the Anchor threads online (even though DMC is what I can source locally). When searching online for Anchor to DMC conversion charts, some of the numbers differed across different charts, so I ordered Anchor threads to make sure I had the right colours.

Anna Maria's Needlework Notebook includes projects in needlepoint, cross stitch, embroidery and crewelwork patterns, all with Anna's beautiful colourful style. Even though I am itching to start another project from this book, I really must focus on my own work. Perhaps I'll get this book off the shelf and get some supplies for my next holiday! I think I have started my own new personal tradition; working on a kit or design of someone else's whilst on holiday. (I also read a novel or two.)

You can find Anna's gorgeous book here: Anna Maria's Needlework Notebook

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affiliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into or would use.

March 30, 2018

Crazy Mosaic Lamps!

I have a thing for weird lighting; perhaps one day I'll do a round up and show all the lights I've made or upgraded in one post! But first I'll have to finish the big white blank one I have in the downstairs living room.

This post contains affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

I started out with some lamps that I bought from an op shop. I've been holding onto one for years with all intentions of mosaicing it, and so before I decided to get started I went and bought more so I could mosaic a bunch of them at once. 

I mosaiced them using Weldbond, which is an all purpose glue that can be used for ceramics and glass. I had to prop the lamp at the right angle so that the tiles would not slide off, and mosaic in sections at a time. I'd mosaic a small section, wander off and go do some other jobs, then return and turn the lamp base and mosaic some more. The beauty of working on more than one at a time meant I could work on another whilst one was setting.

I applied white grout after the mosaicing was complete, and then once dry, painted it with watered down acrylic paints.

Miss 9 suggested I paint the grout in rainbow colours. Good idea, Miss 9!

The shades were covered in squares of fabric using Mod Podge. I painted the Mod Podge on first, then placed the fabric on and painted the Mod Podge over the top. I used a bit of water to dilute it slightly. I then added pom-pom trim, and other fancy trim to the top of the shades using clear craft glue. 

When working with mosaic, I think circles and flower shapes look effective, as well as wavy lines and blocks of colour. I also think mixing up materials works well too, like tesserae tiles with ceramic, plus fancy glass pebbles, and pretty ceramic shapes. You can see some little stars and petal shapes I've incorporated into the bases. You don't always have to use tiles specifically for mosaic, you can look at garden pebbles, and I've even used some decorative fish tank stones as well.

I just love how they turned out! I love all the craziness and colour!

I think they'd look good en masse on top of a set of drawers, because why stop with one crazy lamp!?

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affiliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into or would use.

March 19, 2018

Pambula 2018

It was a long time coming (two years approximately!) but we finally got ourselves off on a much needed holiday to Pambula NSW.

I loved every minute of it, and probably ate way too much, but hey... holidays, right!?

Normally I take a few days to wind down and be able to relax, but this time I was all over the relaxing thing from the moment we got there. We ate simply; so no fancy time-consuming meals in the kitchen, Jim did most of the cooking, which left plenty of time for relaxing, swimming, exploring, reading and stitching. I choose to take a cross stitch with me, rather than work on something of my own. I just really wanted to switch off and not have to think! It was so enjoyable working on this cross stitch, I stitched away for hours and never got tired of it. I kind of feel guilty if I work on something like this at home thinking I should really be working on my own art projects.

It always amazes me how much time in the day there is when you live with just what you need, in a small cabin that takes 5 minutes to sweep out. So much more time can be devoted to living.

The girls first time fishing

I did take my sketchbook and paints as well as the cross stitch, and I'm so glad I did as the interesting beach finds and different shapes I saw really got my inspiration flowing. I probably come back from these trips with way too many photos of different seaweeds and plant life. A few times I sat on the beach and painted in my sketchbook whilst the kids played in the waves.

I think I would need a year of thoroughly exploring the inspiration that the seaweed and ocean treasures gave me. One week just wasn't enough to capture it!

I found this old end of a tin, and thought it looked like ready-made framed art :)

Some beach inspired painting

The requisite mermaid sand sculpture

I can't forget mentioning the wildlife, which, next to swimming, the kids were most excited about. We visited a wildlife sanctuary, and there was plenty of wildlife around us too, such as kangaroos, goannas, lorikeets & stingrays.

Check out the eagle in the background!

At Potoroo Palace Merimbula NSW

Breaks are so important to reset and rejuvenate. But they never are long enough! :)

Exploring the fishing town Eden NSW

Early morning sunrise on Pambula Beach

Hope you enjoyed our photos! Already thinking about the next holiday, hopefully it's not another 2 years away.

Jules :)

February 22, 2018

Goodbye Archie Boy

Such a sad thing happened over the summer school holidays. Our pup that we recently got had some relapses with his autoimmune disease. He was going ok on his medication, but really was never the same dog since initially getting sick when he was just 17 weeks old. I've only just now got to the stage where I can share this here.

Archie-boy days before another relapse

I won't go into the sad details of what happened, all I will say is that when we weighed up everything, and thinking about what the future would hold for him, we decided to have him forever put to sleep, soon after some new medical issues presented themselves at the tender age of 6 months.

That day required some serious emotional eating by all involved in the form of various flavours of ice cream.

Archie in emergency when he first got sick

I painted this artwork to work through some emotions I was feeling surrounding the whole experience. The painting initially read "Will it be ok", and I painted over some of the words for it to read, "It will be ok." It's like I worked through some emotions from the beginning of the painting to the end. The painting is filled with texture and layers to symbolise the depth of our lives and emotions. The spikey bits represent those challenges we face every now and then. The painting is filled with shapes symbolic of happier, calmer times too.

When I was painting this I was asking the universe some pretty unanswerable questions, as we have had some grief surrounding us with close friends and losses and challenges they are going through at the moment.

I don't know what the answers are except that we just try to do our best, and get up each morning and put one foot in front of the other.


We thought Archie's last day was in this photo below when he had a particularly bad relapse, but we managed to get a bit more time with him. Since getting sick he always had gunky eyes, and his nose was always dry, yet dripping constantly and under his chin was always wet due to the medication making him so thirsty. I have no idea if he was in constant pain, but I suspect from his lack of activity, he wasn't doing too well.

I'm still trying to work through all this, and I get that he was "just a dog", but I really didn't cope well with it at all. In some ways, it was harder saying goodbye to him than my two previous older dogs, who I know had come to the end of their lives. I was left with no residual anger or guilt when their times were up; just the grief.

Archie really did tick all the boxes for us as a dog and we were over-the-moon happy with him. It took me a long time to bring another dog into our lives, out of fear of what we'd get, and I was so relieved when Archie came along. He was perfect. (Except for perhaps the leg humping, which he never did again after getting sick but we would have gladly welcomed back!)

Now, we are in the same boat again. We really do want to share our lives with a dog and have a pup grow up with our animal-loving kids. But I'm fearful of what we'll get! I just need to trust that the right dog will come to us eventually :)

Happier days - pre auto-immune disease

Our lives were enriched for a short time by having this precious boy with us. I feel bad for my girls who went through this journey alongside us, but I suppose there are some life lessons in there for them. 

I have made him a memorial stone and he has joined our previous dogs Bender and Leela in a section at the back of our garden. (This project can also be found as a free tutorial which you can find here: DIY pet memorial stone)

Goodbye Archie-boy. We loved you to the moon and back and we hope you're having a humping, I mean "twirking", good time in doggy heaven.


February 16, 2018

Arty Nails: DIY Transfer

Hello creative souls :)

Some DIY nail art today!

I'm not a big fan of fancy glamorous nails, but colourful fun arty nails? Yes please. :)

I made a transfer using scrapbook paper, which is fun because the options are limitless when utilising this craft supply.

Start by applying two coats of clear nail polish to a small piece of the scrapbook paper, letting the nail polish dry in between coats.

Trim the transfer to the width of your nail, rounding it at one end and leaving it longer than your nail; that part gets trimmed back later. Soak it in water for a minute or so.

Ever so gently, the next step is to rub the paper away from the back so you are left with a thin transfer. be careful not to tear it, it's very delicate! Dab it dry with a tissue.

Paint a coat of clear polish onto your nail and press the transfer on whilst the nail polish is still wet, then leave it to dry.

Trim the transfer back, add a top coat to protect, and you're done!

Now enjoy your arty nails!

Jules :)


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